Bernard Matthews told to re-plant trees felled at farm

  • 11 March 2013
  • From the section Norfolk
Media captionBernard Matthews has been told to replace 342 trees at its Oulton site

Poultry producer Bernard Matthews will be ordered to replant more than 300 trees felled at one of its farms.

The company cut down 342 mature trees at Oulton, near Aylsham, Norfolk, on a site where it hopes to erect a 262ft (80m) wind turbine.

The Forestry Commission was called in to investigate and said the trees had been cut down without a licence. It will order the re-planting.

Bernard Matthews Farms said it had yet to hear from the Forestry Commission.

The company planted the trees as part of conditions imposed when planning permission for turkey sheds was granted in 1991, but felled them last month.

Image caption Steve Scott of the Forestry Commission said the trees had been felled without a licence

'Made a mistake'

Steve Scott, area director for the Forestry Commission, said: "As a result, we will issue a re-stocking notice which will make the owners re-plant the trees in situ.

"They have to maintain those trees for a period of 10 years and they do that at their own expense.

"This is an enforceable notice. We can take them to court if necessary, but my understanding is the owners wish to replant these trees and they realise they have made a mistake."

A spokesman for Bernard Matthews Farms said: "We have not yet received any official advice from the Forestry Commission, but we have an excellent working relationship with the commission, having planted 385 acres of woodland across our farms and community areas since 1992.

"We would, of course, welcome any guidance they have on this matter."

The company has submitted a planning application to Broadland District Council for the turbine.

It said the trees had been felled following an ecology assessment of the site that found they posed a "small potential risk to local bat populations".

Campaign group No Oulton Turbine described the felling as an act of "environmental vandalism".

Spokeswoman Daisy Turville-Petre said: "We really can't see where they could possibly replace the same acreage as they have razed to the ground.

"You can't chop down healthy trees without licence, without warning and without any care for the community and expect there not to be consequences."

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